The best laid plans of boxing promoters have been derailed by the Covid-19 Pandemic. The eagerly-awaited heavyweight confrontation between unbeaten rivals Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce has been amongst the worst hit. Promoter Frank Warren remains adamant that the fight can’t take place with a heavily-reduced capacity.
Originally, Dubois-Joyce was due to take place on April 11 at the O2 Arena then moved from July 11 to October 24 as the Coronavirus swept the world and stopped spectator sports in its tracks.
Boxing has slowly returned in a sanitised atmosphere, behind closed doors without fans, with promoter Warren leading the way in Britain with the first show earlier this month.
But for a fight of the magnitude of Dubois-Joyce, Warren believes a large number of fans simply have to be in attendance. If not, the fight could be moved again.
“You may get 3,000 people in the 20,000 seat arena, but that’s going to look awful,” Warren told TalkSport. “You’re not going be allowed to sit next to each other, you’ve got to spread them all around the arena. If you’ve got a one metre distance around you and you’re sitting in a seat then it’s not just either side of you, it’s in front and behind you. So that means only 20% of the seats can be sold.
“I’d want it full. I’ve got no idea [how many fans would be allowed]. But I’ve got to be honest with you, if it’s something like 20% then we’ll postpone it again. We’ve got to have a live audience. That gets a bit more out of the guys. If you’ve got a competitive fight, like with Daniel and Joe, you want the crowd cheering their man on.”
Joyce tuned up with a three-round dismissal of Michael Wallisch on Saturday whereas Dubois shakes off the the ring rust in a bout against Erik Pfeifer on August 29.